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Up the Youtubes

"Innovations such as YouTube are just one of many reasons why technology and time are making a nonsense of the current media rules."

- Senator Helen Coonan, addressing the conservative Millennium Forum, Sydney, 3.10.06

One week after the Minister for Information and Communication Technology cites Youtube as an example of contemporary media diversity, we are greeted this morning with the following news: Google To Acquire YouTube for $1.65 Billion in Stock.

Admittedly Google beats its own drum in the corporate world. But, despite their assertations that YouTube will retain a degree of independence from Google Video, it's a sign that, even in the world of "new" media, diversity of ownership is not guaranteed.

(Having said that, if I were one of the founders of YouTube and someone offered me AUD 2200 million, I think I know what my answer would be.)

Both Google and YouTube are Silicon Valley creations, which makes Senator Coonan's comments, albeit to a Liberal Party business shindig, a bit rich. The lack of a homegrown ICT industry, the lack of support for ICT innovation in Australia, and the lack of a widely-available (and fair dinkum) broadband infrastructure represent one of the major failings of the past decade of the John Winston Howard government's economic management of this country.

Oh, did you notice that the Millennium Forum's website appears not to have been updated since before the annual gathering of 2004? No transcripts, no video archives. And let's not even talk of podcasting!